Colorado Avalanche: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (and Promising) of the Past Week

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - NOVEMBER 10: Gabriel Landeskog
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - NOVEMBER 10: Gabriel Landeskog /

Follow along for the highs, lows, and oddities of the Colorado Avalanche season.

Hello Colorado Avalanche fans! I’m sure as many of you know, there’s a certain movie that is referenced in pop culture pretty frequently (see title). It can be applied to just about anything. So in the spirit of that Clint Eastwood classic, I’m going to start giving a weekly review of the Avalanche. As I can assume readers will put two and two together, the review will contain the good, bad, and ugly of the Avalanche within the last week (with a little wrinkle added at the end).

I also welcome ideas from everyone. If there is something you want me to add or talk about, feel free to share! Reach out to me on twitter @rosskleppe and I will do my best to incorporate it into the review.

So without any more delays, here we go:


Thursday Night vs. the Capitals: That game went about as well as you could hope. Gabriel Landeskog got the Colorado Avalanche out to just about the fastest possible start, catching Philipp Grubauer off guard with a quick snapper upstairs 17 seconds into the game.

This set the tone the rest of the way. The Avalanche never let up on the gas and wouldn’t allow Washington to gain any momentum. Even when the Caps got their first goal late in the second, the Avs got a goal right back. Yes, I know Zadorov’s goal was disallowed and no, it wasn’t goalie interference.

3rd Period and Overtime against

I’ll get to the beginning of that game later, but wow was a great win and WOW was that an exciting finish! After

Niklas Kronwall

scored shortly after the halfway point of the period, Colorado turned it on. They were on the 2nd half of a back-to-back scenario and could have easily just packed it in and quit. They didn’t, out-skating and out-shooting them for the rest of the game.


The Start of Both Weekend Games: The Colorado Avalanche started both the Saturday and Sunday games slow, allowing the Predators and Red Wings respectively to get ahead quickly. I don’t necessarily mean on the scoreboard, but certainly regarding the flow and control of play.

I can forgive Colorado for having a bit of a slow start Sunday, but not Saturday. They were coming off a fantastic win against the Capitals and were playing the Western Conference champs from last season. Nashville is a divisional opponent who probably will have another deep cup run this year, so the Avs should’ve been ready and amped to play. They weren’t, and it cost them.

Defensive Pairing of Samuel Girard and Tyson Barrie:  I’m not actually certain Jared Bednar made that pairing a regular thing. I can’t remember which game I saw it in, but when I did OH BOY did they look helpless in their own end. These are two players who play a similar, offensive-minded game and that is not conducive to defensive zone success.  I really hope this doesn’t become a regular thing.


The Powerplay Over the Weekend: *Heavy Sigh* Welp, that was painful to watch. Seven powerplay opportunities on Saturday and six on Sunday. The Avalanche went 1-13. It should be noted, too, the one was Nail Yakupov just shooting after the puck squirts out of a short scramble around the net, not from any set play or prolonged puck possession.

They looked slow. Not just skating, but passing and decision making with and without the puck. Simply, the penalty killers were out-working the Avalanche powerplay. Referees are calling more penalties this year, and the success of teams is going to be greatly impacted by special teams, even more so than before. This team is too talented to continue struggling on the PP, but the sooner they get it going, the better.

Austin Watson’s Hit on Dominic Toninato: This isn’t anything Avalanche fans haven’t seen from Austin Watson of the Predators before. I’m sure I’d like his physicality and chippiness more if he was on my team, but he’s not. I’m just glad Toninato is ok. Also, Watson being suspended for a couple games makes it a little easier to swallow too.

The Promising: 

Samuel Girard: Guys…………………….guys………………………. Samuel Girard is REALLY good. There aren’t many defenseman in the NHL I’ve seen who are that comfortable with the puck on their stick. He sees the ice so well and he makes so many smart and creative plays in close. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the point or in his own zone; if he has the puck, it’s going where he wants. He’s also only 19 which presumably means he’s only going to get better.

Next: Avs Finally Free from Distraction

If there is anything you’d like to discuss for next week, let me know @rosskleppe on twitter. Hopefully, it will become harder and harder for me to think of things to put under the Bad and Ugly portions!